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Democracy in America Hardcover – August 11, 2003
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“The Bradley edition of Tocqueville’s classic is the best now available in English.” –Charles A. Beard
“Professor Bradley’s edition should remain the standard one for our time.” –F. O. Matthiessen
With an Introduction by Alan Ryan --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Original Language: French
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Top Customer Reviews
What Tocqueville finds is a unique nation. Unlike most other nascent states in history, the English who moved to America found a huge land, practically devoid of people (and in those cases where it was inhabited, they were easily killed), where everybody could be a landowner. This, plus the particular ethics of the Puritans, the glorifiaction of hard work, thrift and virtuosity, provided for a prosperous, practical people (not necessarily tolerant, especially in religious affairs). Far away from kings and emperors, Americans developed a communal democracy. So far so good, Tocquevill really admires the basic qualities of the US.
But this book is not a long eulogy of democracy. Tocqueville admits democracy is the best way to govern a modern society, but that does not mean he thinks it's perfect or endlessly beneficial. Democracy DOES poses risks: among others, the tyranny of the majority, the mediocrity towards which it impels mores; the loneliness of the individual, lost amidst an endless, faceless crowd.Read more ›
1) Nowhere in the book is the translator credited. This violates basic principles of publication and scholarship.
2) This is in fact an abridged version of the original English-language translation by Henry Reeve, dating from sometime before 1862. Unless you want to re-create the experience of a modern Frenchman confronted with de Tocqueville's somewhat archaic French by reading the text in somewhat archaic English, I would seek out any of the more recent translations: there are at least three.
3) The ellipses, that is, the abridgements, have sometimes been made to conceal some of the author's less flattering views America. In fact I suspect this is a "patriotic" abridgement. For example, in the second chapter of part one, Heffner has omitted references to some of the excesses of Puritan law in New England which the notoriously even-handed Tocqueville had cited.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Democracy in America is a complex, yet highly invigorating book which recalls Alexis de Tocqueville's time in America. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Should be required reading for every high school student in America.
For that matter, it should be required reading for every elected official before taking the oath of... Read more
Excellent snapshot of the vision the founders of the country had for America.Published 3 months ago by Gary Butts
Reading this book, you would swear that delivers Townville had a crystal ball. He obviously understood that American psyche better than our own politicians.Published 4 months ago by Seamus Mccormack